This is not a threat – rather it is a word of advice. And also a plea, to some degree.
Mr. president – for over six years, you and those who you chose to help “lead” our country have thumbed your nose at justice, those who demand accountability, those who saw through your administration’s deception, greed, indifference, half-truths (at best) and tragic acts and decisions.
You and your administration have been responsible for, suppressed the truth about and in many instances covered up so many egregious acts that not only would have gotten any other president impeached but his entire administration held up as an example of everything that can go wrong in a representative democracy.
These acts have been the result of many a constitutional scholar debating just how many times that federal laws were broken – whether they were done willfully enough to warrant criminal investigations and actually whether classified information was leaked in such a manner as to warrant criminal charges, the yanking of security credentials and the prompting of members at the highest levels of your government to either resign in disgust (or disgrace).
The country has had enough of you and your administration. Almost 6 in 10 just wanted your presidency to be over as of last month. And that was before the news broke about the politically motivated firings of way too many US Attorneys, the recent run of spectacularly horrific violence in Iraq, the news about the resurgent Taliban and al Qaeda and the guilty verdict of your Vice President’s most senior advisor on four counts related to lying about the leak of classified information.
The Democrats in Congress are just about finally getting the message that yes, the public didn’t just mean start talking about Iraq – it meant, “get us the hell out”. The Plame leak case isn’t over. No – now it is going to begin again, even if Fitzgerald is done. There is a new chapter in the public’s mind. And it starts with “Vice President’s Chief of Staff lied about the leak of classified information and quite possibly implicated both the President’s closest advisor as well as the Vice President”.
Calls for impeachment are growing – of Alberto Gonzalez, of Vice President Cheney, of Condoleezza Rice and of you. Congressional investigations are underway into so many of the possible impeachable offenses, and more are coming as more possibly impeachable offenses are uncovered. More and more people are talking about it – more information is coming out, the Overton Window is shifting.
If the evidence is there, it will not be buried. It will not be suppressed as it may have been by Senator Pat Roberts, or by the Attorney General’s Office, or by your threats. Not anymore. Even some republicans are getting fed up. Maybe not enough yet, but they want to keep their jobs in 2008.
And in this instance, we are talking about one of the most senior people in your administration who was just convicted of his participation in and the covering up of leaked classified information relating to an entire unit of the CIA that was investigating nuclear proliferations – between the country that is linked to the Taliban and al Qaeda resurgence and the country who you oh-so-desperately want to drop “a couple-uh-big ‘uns” on.
If you dare to pardon this man – hell, if you don’t come out and say that you will NOT pardon this man – well a lot fewer republicans will get to keep their jobs in 2008. Which, of course, is fine with me. More importantly, you will become a willing participant in the leak of classified information. Which would be a further disgrace to this country.
There are still some hardcore true patriots who still believe in you, your administration and your noble cause to “fight terror and spread freedom”. That support will get shot to shit the minute you pardon him. And your party’s failure to stop you from doing this as well as your tacit support of Libby’s actions will be yet another Katrina moment.
On the other hand, a pardon would weaken your administration further – to the point where it could actually benefit the rest of us (that is, if you pardon Libby before the end of your term). It could lead to the final breaking point, it could lead to even your more ardent cheerleaders saying “enough”. It could lead to others in your own party (as Senator Hagel recently did) calling for impeachment. It could save further embarrassment for them down the road.
And as good as that all is, it will make this country even more of a laughingstock in the global community’s eyes – and as much as I would love to see all of your administration thrown out and convicted of every crime you committed, for this country to allow you to pardon Libby would be a mistake of immeasurable proportions. And even though all we can do is shout warnings and pleas and demands, it would be seen as yet another example where this country has allowed its’ leaders to make them look like the fools they were for allowing these leaders to take power in the first place.
I’d love to see you get what you deserve. But since pardoning a criminal, even if he is your Vice President’s Chief of Staff (or Vice President for that matter) isn’t an impeachable offense, I’d have to settle for that being an event to help sway public opinion towards stopping your administration’s power grab at the cost of you creating yet another stain on this country’s history.
Don’t do it.